04 October 2010

Ariella Azoulay Denied Tenure

Ariella Azoulay. Photograph © Miki Kratsman.

For the past decade Ariella Azoulay has taught visual culture and contemporary philosophy in the Program for Culture and Interpretation, Bar Ilan University. She is the author of many works, including The Civil Contract of Photography (2008) and a short paper "What is a Photograph? What is Photography?" (2010) that you can find here.

Last night my friend Mark Reinhardt passed along this news article from Ha'aretz reporting that Azoulay has been denied tenure by the University. This is a touchy matter, as a University administration may dig in their heels in the face of external criticism. And, I am reluctant to provide the higher ups at Bar Ilan a rationale for doing so in this instance. It is, after all, Azoulay's livelihood that it is at stake. However, as the Ha'artez report makes plain, Azoulay's supporters suspect that this negative decision amounts to retaliation for her political views. If you don't have time to plow through her book, you might check out her contribution to this symposium on "Photography & Human Rights" at Aperture. Does what she says there sound like the sort of view that political officials - whether Israeli or American - would find endearing? I didn't think so.

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